The Health News – 8 January 2014

Overview

  • In a new study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, it’s been revealed that global smoking rates in women have declined almost 50% since 1980.
  • Over 600 Australian women have expressed interest in a possible class action against Bayer, the manufacturer of the contraceptive medications Yasmin and Yaz.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has said it may be some time before Far North Queensland sees widespread rain. The approaching monsoon trough is expected to bring heavy rainfall to Cape York by the weekend.
  • A Northern Territory record label is uniting with Indigenous musicians to create short films to spread health messages across remote communities.
  • Melbourne scientists have made a breakthrough in the fight against several cancers which could lead to new treatments.

Health News on HPR.

Despite global declines in smoking rates, number of smokers and cigarettes rises – Alison Caldwell 8/1/13
In a new study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, it’s been revealed that global smoking rates in women have declined almost 50% since 1980. Australia has recorded one of the steadiest declines of any country over this period. The study was one of the first of its kind, taking data from 187 countries from 1980 to 2012. Countries such as Norway, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, and the United States have also been fairly successful in reducing smoking amongst both men and women. Globally, the number of daily smokers has reduced 45% in women and 25% in men. But conversely, the survey shows the total number of smokers worldwide has increased since 2006.

The director of the study Dr Christopher Murray believe the increase is partially due to the rising number of smokers in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Russia. He says, “We have countries like Indonesia, which has the second-highest smoking rates for men in the world. And they have yet to sign the framework convention on tobacco control. So I think it’s the ongoing agenda that there is strong industry action that promotes smoking and in some countries that’s been more effective at stymieing the adoption of effective tobacco control.” Approximately 967 million people smoke worldwide.

600 women flag interest in contraceptive pill class action against Bayer – no listed author 
Over 600 Australian women have expressed interest in a possible class action against Bayer, the manufacturer of the contraceptive medications Yasmin and Yaz. They claim to have suffered severe side effects to the drugs, mainly concerning complications from blood clots. A United States study of more than 800,000 women who used the birth control found the risk of developing blood clots, often in the legs, which have a risk of dislodgement and possibly becoming caught in the heart or lungs. 28-year-old American woman Kelly Lee was fit and healthy, when had a stroke not long after taking the Yasmin pill. Speaking of the class action, she said “I really want them to fight for it for the other women, I want that pill to be off the market so the thing that happened to me doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

Big dry in Cairns helps limit dengue fever spread – by Sharnie Kim
The Bureau of Meteorology has said it may be some time before Far North Queensland sees widespread rain. The approaching monsoon trough is expected to bring heavy rainfall to Cape York by the weekend. Forecaster Andrew Mostyn says that further south around Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands and Cassowary Coast, substantial rain is unlikely. Health groups believe the dry weather may have aided in slowing the spread of dengue fever in Cairns. 4 people have contracted the type-1 strain of the virus since December last year. In a separate incident, 15 people contracted the type-3 strain in the Port Douglas and Miallo area. Dr Richard Gair from Tropical Public Health services is warning people in the area to rid their properties of possible mosquito breeding sites before wetter conditions arrive.

Short films to deliver health messages in remote Indigenous communities where soft drink is cheaper than water – by Felicity James
A Northern Territory record label is uniting with Indigenous musicians to create short films to spread health messages across remote communities. The films, written by people living in the communities, will be launched over the next 2 months. Nigel Yunupingu stars in the film Sugar Man, which addresses excess sugar consumption in his community of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land. Skinnyfish Music co-founder Mark Grose says “the films will be launched by the record label across the Northern Territory. I’ve got to say that all of the guys we’ve worked with are just natural actors, they just do such a great job.” The writers of the films produced are from Western Arnhem Land to Croker Island. Grose says every community has taken a different approach. “So it’s really Aboriginal people speaking to Aboriginal people about a modern issue,” he said. “So I guess in a way, people aren’t being lectured to, they don’t have an expert or a doctor coming in saying this is what you have to do. The overall message is “get active, eat bush tucker and live longer”.

Melbourne scientists kill cancer-causing MCL-1 protein, breakthrough gives hope for new treatment – by Samantha Donovan
Melbourne scientists have made a breakthrough in the fight against several cancers which could lead to new treatments. Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute claim they have devised how to attack a protein which causes cancers including leukaemia and lymphoma. Researchers have known for some time that the MYC protein is present in 70% of all cancers, as well as the healthy cells.

Liked it? Take a second to support healthprofessionalradio on Patreon!